I remember being a junior in high school and being at dance practice. We would all be wearing leotards and tights and we would stand in front of the large mirror and just absolutely rip ourselves apart. We would examine ever inch of our bodies, spotlighted under the florescent lights. We’d pinch our thighs, our guts, complain that our boobs were too small or too big. That our butts weren’t perky enough or that our hip bones didn’t stick out enough.
We were almost peer pressured into looking at ourselves under a microscope, silently daring each other to find something wrong with ourselves that was worse than the girl standing next to us.
I’ve always been thin and boney. My spine sticks out when I bend over, my hip and collar bones protrude. When I take a deep inhale, my ribcage becomes visible. I’d never been particularly ecstatic about my body. For the most part, I was happy with it. Sure I’d wish my boobs were bigger, my thighs slimmer and my legs longer, but we all have things we’d like to change about ourselves. I would contribute my insecurities to the conversation and be immediately shot down.
Suddenly, I became insecure about having insecurities. In an environment when every aspect of my physical being was being analyzed, why was I being patronized for, at the very base of it, admitting and accepting that I wasn’t perfect either? Were my flaws any worse or any better than the girl standing next to me? Who’s to judge that my insecurities and feelings aren’t valid? Surely not the 16-year-old girl standing next to me.
It’s been a while since I stood in front of that mirror with my teammates. Years, in fact. Do those conversations still haunt those girls like they do me? And in an age where you’re supposed to embrace and celebrate your flaws, am I still not allowed to feel insecure?
With all of that weighing on me recently, I just want to say that I love my flat chest because that means I can get away without wearing a bra. I love my butt because it looks great in a pair of skinny jeans. I love my protruding collarbone because I love the way my necklaces look when they hit it.
Body image is a funny thing.
So, don’t let anyone tell you how to feel. You’re entitled to your feelings, and you’re entitled to your insecurities.
“surround yourself with tacos, not negativity”
photo by Kristen J